After rainfall, thunder, dust storms, and snow hit the Aswan region in the south of Egypt in the weekend, more than 500 people suffered scorpions stings and were sent to hospitals. All of them were discharged after they were given anti-venom doses.Three people have died. Power outages occurred. Doctors have been recalled from holiday and extra supplies of anti-venom have been distributed. Rain had flushed scorpions and snakes out of their hiding places, caused power cuts, and led many lighting columns and trees in the streets to fall. The scorpions entered houses across the province. The governor of Aswan, Ashraf Attia, has urged people to stay at home and avoid places with trees. Egypt is home to the Egyptian fat-tailed scorpion, which is considered “one of the most deadly scorpions in the world.”
Scorpions are usually washed into the streets by heavy rain. Their stings are usually not fatal, and typically only cause pain. Severe cases show symptoms including: difficulty breathing, muscle twitching or thrashing, unusual head, neck and eye movements, drooling, sweating, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure (hypertension), accelerated heart rate (tachycardia), restlessness or excitability. Several years ago, a young Egyptian man, Mohamed Hamdy Boshta, abandoned his degree in archaeology to hunt scorpions in the country’s deserts and shores, extracting their venom for medicinal use. A gram of scorpion venom can fetch $10,000 and Boshta exports it to Europe and the US where it is used to make antivenom and a range of other medicines.